Wednesday, September 27, 2023 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Art & Design Building, Gillespie Gallery
Where: Gillespie Gallery, 515 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, VA 22030
When: September 27, 2023.
4:30pm: Doors open for enrichment and centering.
5:00-6:15pm: Guest reading
6:30-7:30: Reception with refreshments; time for conversation, writing, sketching
What to bring: Attendees are encouraged to bring writing and art material to work on their own creative enterprise during this evening.
About the Artist: Aimée Beaubien’s exhibition Into the Hothouse invites viewers to contemplate the intricate connections between photographic images, the natural world, and the complexities of visual representation through an immersive site-specific installation.
The Readers: Indian poet, translator and art curator, and visiting Cheuse Center writer, Ranjit Hoskote, brings us his new collection of poems, "Icelight."Jennifer Robertson, an Indian poet traveling to her first US event from India, will launch her debut poetry collection, "Folie á Deux." Nirmal Ghosh, conservationist and journalist will read from his work. George Mason professors Sally Keith, and Peter Streckfus, will read poetry alongside work from our returning Cheuse Fellows: Judith Leserman who just returned from Madagascar, Arpita Roy from Ireland, and Ashlee Green from Scandinavia.
Videography: Steven Luu
Event curators: Jeffrey M. Kenney, Leeya Mehta
Nirmal Ghosh is the US Bureau Chief in Washington DC for The Straits Times, Singapore’s and South East Asia's #1 English daily. Born and raised in Calcutta, India, of mixed German-Indian parentage, Nirmal moved to New Delhi in 1982 and then Singapore in 1991 after a decade of working for various media houses in India including Ananda Bazar Patrika and The Times of India. Among other things, he has covered elections, insurgencies, urban conflict, natural disasters, and coups d’etat, across South and South East Asia. He has written extensively as well on climate change and environmental issues. He has written five books including Unquiet Kingdom (2017), an account of his years in Thailand, which was shortlisted that year for Singapore’s National Book Prize. His most recent Blue Sky, White Cloud, a collection of three novellas, was published in India (Aleph Books) in 2022. Nirmal writes poetry and in 2021-22 had a collaborative bilingual English-Chinese poetry installation titled Wild Cranes, featuring his own poetry translated into Chinese, which ran for six months at the Chinese-American Museum in Washington DC. That was followed by a week’s run in early 2022, at The Arts House in Singapore. Ghosh is a Trustee of The Corbett Foundation, a non-profit that works for wildlife conservation in India. His personal website is at https://www.nirmalghosh.com/
Ashlee Green (she/they), second-year nonfiction MFA candidate at Mason, and a 2023 Cheuse Fellow. Green traveled to Norway on her fellowship to research the country's history of anarchism, naturism, and sauna culture, conducting on-the-ground interviews with Norwegian anarchists, naturists, academics, and historians for a zine of collected perspectives regarding body politics and the natural world. She spent the week of Aug. 21 2023, at The Inner Loop Lit's writing residency at Woodlawn and The Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, Va. They're working on a personal essay incorporating the social engineering in Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian architecture and completed a zine comparing the architecture of Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey. Read Green's blog post about the experience here: (https://www.theinnerlooplit.org/single-post/summer-writer-in-residence-ashlee-green-on-legacies-tours-and-textbooks-one-week-at-woodlawn). The former managing editor of a community newspaper in Pittsburgh, Pa., she holds a B.A. in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. In her free time, she enjoys practicing handstands, visiting art museums, stoking bonfires, and napping in her hammock.
Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, essayist and curator based in Bombay. “Icelight” (Wesleyan University Press, 2023) is his eighth collection. His translation of a celebrated 14th-century Kashmiri woman saint’s poetry has appeared as “I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded” (Penguin Classics, 2011). Hoskote has been a Fellow of the International Writing Program (IWP), University of Iowa; writer-in-residence at Villa Waldberta, Munich, Theater der Welt, Essen-Mülheim, and the Polish Institute, Berlin; and researcher-in-residence at BAK/ basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. His poems have been translated into German, Hindi, Bangla, Irish, Marathi, Swedish, Spanish, and Arabic. Hoskote curated India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011) and was co-curator, with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim, of the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008). For many years Hoskote has been decoding his family’s linguistic legacy, and his Kashmiri ancestry, putting a spotlight on the complex unpredictability of the Indian writer’s habitat and multilingual heritage. “Icelight,” Hoskote’s eighth collection, is set in an age of ecological catastrophe, Icelight eloquently accepts transience yet asserts the robustness of hope. “Icelight,” Ranjit Hoskote's eighth collection of poems, enacts the experience of standing at the edge—of a life, a landscape, a world assuming new contours or going up in flames.
Sally Keith is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently River House (Milkweed 2015). A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, she is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and teaches at George Mason University. Keith is Co-Editorial Director of Poetry Daily.
Judy Leserman is a candidate in Poetry Writing and holds a BA from Yeshiva University and an MA from CUNY Lehman College. Currently, she works as an editorial intern for Poetry Daily and as a speech therapist for children with hearing loss using listening and spoken language. As a 2023 Cheuse Fellow Leserman traveled to Antananarivo, Madagascar and surrounding areas to investigate the history and culture of a small community in Madagascar's capital that converted to Judaism despite linguistic, cultural, and geographic barriers. In her writing, she explores topics of identity, otherness, and the joy this community has expressed in their found identity and lifestyle. She is grateful for the opportunity to spend time with this gracious community, document their personal accounts, and share her experiences with them through poetry.
Jennifer Robertson is a poet, critic, and consultant based in Bombay. Her poems have been published in the US, UK, and India: Poetry magazine (USA), Emma Press (UK), The Missing Slate (USA), Domus (India), Almost Island (India) and others. Many of her poems have been anthologised: 40 Under 40: An Anthology Of Post-Globalization Poetry; Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians published by Sahitya Akademi and The Penguin Book of Indian Poets. Her critical essays and book reviews have appeared in The American Book Review, Scroll, The Telegraph and elsewhere. Jennifer has convened the literary chapter for the PEN All-India Centre at Prithvi Theatre. Her debut poetry collection Folie à deux is being published by EveryBody Press in the USA and in India by Paperwall Publishing.
Arpita Roy is an MFA student in Creative Writing Poetry. She completed her BA and MA in English from Jadavpur University. Born in West Bengal, Arpita spent her childhood in various cities in India, though Kolkata occupies a special place in her heart. She is a 2023 Cheuse Fellow, who visited Ireland, investigating the relationship between solitude and community. She is interested in understanding and responding to the poetic portrayals of this relationship by the English Romantics and Modernists. This summer Roy was selected as the winner of the Bread Loaf Katharine Bakeless Nason Contributor Award in Poetry for the 2023 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Peter Streckfus is the author of two poetry books: Errings, winner of Fordham University Press’s 2013 POL Editor’s Prize, and The Cuckoo, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2003. His poems appear in journals such as the Bennington Review, The Chicago Review, The New Republic, and the Academy of American Poets’ poem-a-day. His awards include fellowships and grants from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy in Rome. He lives in the Washington DC area and is on the faculties of the Creative Writing Program at George Mason University and the Low-Residency Pan-European MFA in Creative Writing at Cedar Crest College. He is an editorial co-director of Poetry Daily.
Photo credit for the exhibition: Aimée Beaubien/ Mason Exhibitions